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Vets Ready Employer Initiative

Vets Ready

The Vets Ready Employer Initiative serves to encourage employers to build a support system within their workplace, hire and retain more veterans, and connect to veterans in the community and their families. Every year the Department of Workforce Development recognizes businesses who have gone above and beyond for the veteran workforce. Businesses are separated into three categories – small, medium, large – and either receive a gold or silver certification.

DWD partners with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Wisconsin Department of Disabled American Veterans, and the Veterans Chamber of Commerce on the Vets Ready Employer Initiative.

2023 Winners


Gold Certification

  • Deloitte LLP, Madison
  • Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh
  • Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee
  • TDS Telecom, Madison
  • WE Energies, Milwaukee
  • WI Physicians Services Insurance Co., Madison
  • Xcel Energy, Eau Claire

Silver Certification

  • 4imprint, Oshkosh
  • Del Monte Foods, Plover
  • Frank Beverage Group, Madison
  • Kimberly-Clark, Neenah
  • Menasha Corp., Neenah


Silver Certification

  • Kingsbury Inc., Oshkosh
  • Worthington Cylinders, Chilton


Gold Certification

  • Grant County, Lancaster
  • MCC Inc., Appleton

Silver Certification

  • Northwood Technical College, Rice Lake

How to apply

It is free to apply for Wisconsin's Vets Ready Employer Initiative. Employers who are deemed Vets Ready will be promoted by DWD staff to veteran job seekers and community partners through several outlets including:

  • Inclusion in a press release promoting the winners.
  • Promotion on all DWD's social media outlets throughout the year.
  • Indicated as a Vets Ready Employer on (Job Seekers can specifically search for jobs posted by Vets Ready Employers).
  • Supplied a Vets Ready Winner emblem to include the company's website, additional social media assets, and a media kit for self-promotion.
  • Provided a framed certificate.
  • Given outreach by Job Center staff, Veteran Employment Services staff, veteran agencies and organizations, and workforce partners.

Employers must provide a letter of support from a veteran or veterans' organization supporting the company's accomplishments as referenced in the application.

The Office of Veteran Employment Services (OVES) will accept 2024 Vets Ready employer applications from March 15, 2024, to July 19, 2024.

Vets Ready FAQs | Why Hire Veterans? (YouTube Video)

To get to the Vets Ready Application:

  1. Login to JCW as an employer (Login is in the upper right hand corner).
  2. Hover on the 'Employers' menu to get the submenu.
  3. Click on My Company Information.
  4. Click on Manage 'Vets Ready Employer Applications' to begin the application process.

Please address any questions about the application or process to or your Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER).


Candidates must illustrate the resources that are available to veterans for employee engagement, growth, and training opportunities such as:

  • Veteran Resource Groups (Internal affinity groups for veterans to share experiences, voice concerns, tackle common problems, share struggles)
  • Veteran-specific employee onboarding programs
  • Veteran-specific management training programs
  • Veteran-specific retention efforts
  • Veteran on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or internships

Applicants must describe measures taken by the organization/company to create capacity of all workers to create a supportive environment for veteran employees such as:

  • Executive-level sponsor is visible and active
  • Defined, sustainable, and ongoing training/awareness program for company staff
  • Efforts to identify and recognize service members, veterans, and military family employees

Applicants must describe financial assistance measures implemented to assist veterans such as:

  • Tuition assistance and/or educational attainment support (more points may be awarded for higher levels of assistance)
  • Pay differential program (fills the gap between military pay and employer pay)
  • Hiring bonus for veterans

Applicants must demonstrate how they offer personal assistance and development opportunities for their veteran workforce such as:

  • Supports recovery and rehabilitation programs that focus on post-traumatic stress
  • Accommodations for physical, emotional, mental disabilities
  • Schedule flexibility for military families related to physical, emotional, or mental disabilities and/or active duty requirements

Applicants must describe efforts in their human resources processes to prioritize veteran hires. Applicants must describe recruitment strategies such as:

  • Ongoing HR strategy to hire veterans
  • Presence at veteran-centric hiring events
  • Participation at Transition Summits or other military-related hiring events
  • Works with government agencies and non-profits such as WEDC, DWD, DVA, Veterans Chamber, USO, and others to utilize available resources and connect with veterans
  • Post jobs on

Candidates must illustrate hiring goals such as:

  • Percentage of veterans hoping to hire each year
  • Number of veterans hoping to hire each year

Applicants must describe how they connect to and support the veteran community. Applicants must illustrate how they support military families such as:

  • Efforts to connect to the military spouse talent pool
  • Implementing workforce flexibility for military spouses
  • Military family resource groups/Family Readiness Group (FRG)
  • Participate in Military Spouse Hiring initiatives such as the Wisconsin Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone

Applicants must demonstrate their volunteer and charity work such as:

  • Partnership with veteran support and service organizations
  • Employer-led volunteer and fundraising events
  • Participation or sponsorship of events related to veterans

Applicants must describe their support of service members & veterans outside the office such as:

  • Participation in public events recognizing current or veteran service members
  • Support of the guard and reserve ESGR statement
  • Visible support of service members, veterans, and military families by leadership


The Vets Ready Employer Initiative is a recognition program for employers who support veterans in the workplace as part of the organization's mission. The program recognizes employers that go above and beyond by providing additional support, resources, and outreach to veterans they hire.

Application materials are on the Vets Ready website, which includes:

  • Employer Information Application document.
  • Application narrative.
  • Letter of support from a veteran or veterans' organization.

Employers will submit all application materials online at the Job Center of Wisconsin (JCW) website.

  • Get to Vet Ready applications:
    • Login to JCW as an employer.
    • Hover on the Employers menu to get the sub menu.
    • Choose My Company Information.
    • Then, select Manage Vets Ready Employer Applications.
  • Applications Open: March 15, 2024
  • Application Deadline: July 19, 2024
  • Winners Announced: Fall 2024
  • Vets Ready recognizes Wisconsin employers.
  • It is free for employers to apply.
  • Both programs are great ways to recognize employers who support veteran employees.

Employer applicants will be rated on various criteria including:

  • Supporting veterans in the workplace.
  • Hiring veterans.
  • Connecting to the veteran community.

See above for the full list of criteria.

The employer applications will be rated by a panel that includes representation from:

  • Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Office of Veteran Employment Services.
  • DWD Bureau of Job Service.
  • Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs (WDVA).
  • Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce.
  • Disabled American Veterans Department of Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin American Legion.
  • Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves.

Employers who are deemed Vets Ready will be promoted by DWD staff to veteran job seekers and community partners. Employers will also:

  • Be listed on the Veterans Employment Services website.
  • Be featured in a press release.
  • Be highlighted on DWD's social media platforms.
  • Be listed as a Vets Ready Employer on Job Seekers can specifically search for jobs posted by Vets Ready Employers.
  • Receive a Vets Ready Winner emblem to include the company's website, additional social media assets, and a media kit for self-promotion.
  • Receive a framed certificate.
  • Be featured in outreach by Job Center staff, Veterans Employment Services staff, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Veteran agencies and organizations, and other workforce partners.